Corsica has been a real adventure!!! We've raced across the island in a rented turbocharged ralley car, rode a train into the heart of the island past deep ravines and seven-thousand foot tall mountains, and swam at three beaches and in a river.
In the port town of Bastia we quickly realized that Corsican's take pride in the fact that Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio on the south coast. We arrived near Rue Napoleon and then were informed at the tourist information office that we could choose between Hotel Napoleon or Hotel Bonaparte. (We chose Hotel Napoleon...much less formal sounding.)
On our first night in Corsica in the port town of Bastia we dined at one of many many waterfront restaurants offering fixed price menus of three courses consisting of Corsican dishes and French favorites. Marianne had a real French favorite, a pot of mussels cooked in white wine and garlic and french fries. I had a Corsican dish of white boar and gnocchi filled with ground chestnuts.
The following day was the market day in Bastia and Marianne and I spent much of the day wandering through the various sections of the market which stretched
across two squares and a couple streets. There were antique stalls selling old furniture and house wares, tourist good stalls and (our favorite) a Corsican bakery, cheese, honey and sausage area. For less than four dollars, Marianne and I tried bignets (think large donut holes or zeppoli's for 'utes from the East Coast) filled with either apple, or a cheese kind of like feta and then dipped in either sea salt or sugar. We also tried a pancake whose name I can neither pronounce nor even attempt to spell made of a cheese with an equally befuddling name. While walking through the markets we surpised and pleased by how friendly the people were, especially when they found we were American. "USA. Very good. How do you find out about Corsica?" we were asked.
We caught a 'train' to the mountainous center of the island, Corte. The 'train' was no more than two subway type cars that must have been forty years old. Each time the train accelerated you could hear the conductor step on the gas and then slowly let out the clutch. The rail lines through Corsica are famous because they cut right through numerous mountains, cross many
very deep ravines on archway bridges and cross high valleys.
We visited a small 'town' called Vizzavona, with about four buildings and a train station surrounded by pine forest and very tall and steep mountains. We hiked for about an hour to a series of cascades with pools for swimming. We found the perfect swimming hole with two cascades and a deep pool. We drank beers made from yeast and chestnut flour cooled under one of the cascades. (As you may be guessing at this point, chestnuts are a big deal in Corsica.)
We also decided to rent a car one day. We were surprised when our request for the cheapest available car ended up being the sport edition of a small Renault called a "Twingo Gordini Edition" that had a turbo engine, racing stripes and other rally car type stylings!!! Watch out Corsica! We drove all the way to the Southern tip of Corsica stopping to swim at two beaches along the way. At the southern tip we visited an amazing old city called Bonafaccio that you enter through a tower and then walk around on top of a large bluff with cliffs on all sides. You
could see Sardinia in the distance from the Southern side of the town.
Now we are in our final destination in Corsica, Calvi where we are overlooking snow capped mountains while we are in 80 degree heat and swimming in turquoise waters that are near the same temperature. Tomorrow we take a ferry to Nice, France and then on to Provence. Au revoire!
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